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Astronomers Observe First Coronal Mass Ejection from Other Star

August 14, 2018
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Astronomers Observe First Coronal Mass Ejection from Other Star

Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) appears when a star spews a glob of plasma and charged particles from its corona into surrounding space.

CMEs on our Sun occur almost every day and we’ve known about them since 1971. But this is the first time astronomers have identified it on another star.

“People have looked for this for a long time, and this is the first time this has been seen.” Astrophysicist Julián Alvarado-Gómez of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge said in a statement.

A team of researchers led by Costanza Argiroffi, an astronomer at the University of Palermo in Italy, has found the evidence of a coronal mass ejection from another star. Astronomers call this star HR 9024. This G-type main sequence star lies about 450 light-years from Earth. It is about three times the mass of our Sun.

The researchers published a study about their discovery on July 26 in The Astrophysical Journal.

Researchers mentioned that they were studying data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory from a decade ago when they found what they claim is evidence of a CME.

While looking at this data, they noticed approximately 1 billion trillion grams of material, similar to CMEs, moving away from HR 9024 following a solar flare. But, strangely enough, the material then moved back toward the star.

This never happens with our Sun. But scientists predict that a CME might not be able to fully escape the magnetic field of a larger star. They suggest this might also explain why CMEs for other stars have not been spotted before.

Scientists suggest that this behavior might also be an evidence of survivability of life on planets orbiting such a star.

When CMEs reach the Earth’s atmosphere, they can disrupt our satellites, bathe airplanes in radiation, and even cause electrical blackouts. But humans are safe because of the planet’s atmosphere and magnetosphere that protects us.

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Thumbnail image: A Coronal Mass Ejection on our Sun on August 31, 2012. Credit: NASA / SDO / GSFC.

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